Oh, For Hebdo’s Sake

A magazine in France reprinted those damned Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed.

A Muslim group here is suing. It’s better than torching, bombing, burning and slaying over it.

In what appeared to be an at least semi-staged TV event, Presidential hopeful Nicholas Sarkozy managed to say some pretty stupid, racist things the other night. A pissed off young Arabic woman in the audience rightly called him on it. I’m not convinced Sarkozy is totally racist, though. He’s fought hard to get too many mosques built, and secured other rights for immigrants. (At least, that’s what I’m hearing.) But I do think he’s just another politician trying to get as many votes as he can be stretching himself philosophically too thin in every direction. What’s interesting is that he’s proposing lots of economic changes to follow America’s model. He’s got some great ideas to get the economy stirring. The Socialist Party nominee, Segolene Royal, has been painting the U.S. as evil. I might add, it’s not gotten her very far. The French intensely dislike Bush. They tend to like the U.S. itself quite a bit.

But I liked that TV event because it was so unlike the U.S. “town hall” meetings we have around our elections. In our shows, people are pre-selected to ask pre-screened questions for the potential Presidential candidate. Once someone asks their question, they have to sit down and shut the hell up. The moderators take away their microphone and that’s that.

Not in France. Everybody gets to keep their microphones. And then they interrupt the Presidential candidate and argue with him or her whenever they want. The French like to debate, argue, hash things out. They don’t hide their disagreements. And since obviously no one faints from the mortal blows of words, they keep doing it. It’s way healthier than burying conflicts.

I dig it. With a croissant, especially.

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